Jason and Laurie Holt, a Salt Lake City-based couple, are suffering a pain no parent can imagine. For more than a month now, their 24-year-old son Joshua has been locked in a Venezuela prison for a crime he says he didn’t commit.
Worse than that, Josh’s health is deteriorating quickly.
On Thursday Laurie Holt posted a message on her Facebook page describing Josh’s worrying physical condition and his need for imminent treatment.
In a plea to Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, Laurie Holt held a press conference Wednesday night.
"I am pleading as a mom to the Venezuelan government to, please, don't just let him lay there and die,” she said, as reported by Fox 13 Salt Lake City.
"President Maduro, I don't know if you have children, but if you do, imagine one of them being in a prison and not being able to get the adequate care they need when they're sick," Holt also said.
Jason Holt told Fox News Latino he and Laurie heard about Josh's health through their attorney in Venezuela.
"I don’t want to discuss it all, but we’ve heard there were more problems. The lawyer is working to get the court order enforced to get him taken him to the hospital,” Jason Holt told FNL.
Five days after returning to Caracas from his honeymoon, Josh was arrested along with his wife Thamara Caleño Candelo on weapons charges – a claim he has maintained is entirely fabricated.
Laurie and her husband Jason have hired a team of lawyers in an effort to get them released. Josh and his parents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).
The Holts have met with Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Mia Love to discuss securing Congressional support for the safe release of Josh, who’s been jailed in Venezuela since June 30.
Jason Holt told FNL Thursday that Rep. Love’s office has reached out to a high ranking official in Venezuela and is scheduled to speak with him today.
"We're not moving fast enough," Rep. Love, a Republican, told the Associated Press. "I can imagine that every day he spends there is absolutely horrific."
Hatch's office released this statement Wednesday:
"My heart goes out to the Holt family tonight as they continue to hear reports of Josh's serious condition and poor treatment. I've been in touch with the State Department and brought the duty officer in Venezuela up to speed on Josh's situation and the need to get him immediate attention. I've also been in touch with the Consul General in Venezuela, and they have connected with the Director of the North American desk and asked that the Venezuelan authorities comply with the court order to get Josh the medical care he needs. I will continue to do everything in my power in working with the State Department and through diplomatic back-channels to ensure that this situation is swiftly resolved."
In a separate statement, Rep. Love said she continues to push for answers and action for Josh in Venezuela. "That includes doing whatever I can to ensure he gets the proper medical treatment. My heart is with Josh’s family as they endure this difficult time,” she said.
Jason holt said to FNL he's frightened his son will "bleed out" because he can’t get to the hospital.
"The doctors at the jail told him there was nothing they could do. He needs to get to the hospital,” Jason told FNL.
"He woke up this morning and there was blood everywhere," Laurie Holt told KSL.com.
In a letter from Josh to his parents, sent Aug. 22, Josh wrote about how he was holding up physically.
"I have had one sickness after another – kidney stones, bronchitis and now have something that makes me itch like I have never itched before," he wrote. "I had times where I could barely breathe. The judge approved not one time, but twice for me to go to the hospital, however I have never left the jail."
Josh is scheduled to appear before a judge for a hearing on September 15, where he could be released on his own recognizance. Laurie and Jason are concerned that may be too late for their son.